100 Years, 100 People: 1950 - 1959
Rural electrification begins
Tom Tanner was born in Wales in 1891. After serving in World War I as an electrician, Tanner moved to Alberta in 1921. His first job in the province was with the Government of Canada at Banff National Park. In 1929, Tanner joined Calgary Power as a service man. 13 years later, he was promoted from local manager to division supervisor at Camrose; a position that he held until retirement.
Calgary Power employees have always taken a strong, personal interest in the communities where they live and work. Tom Tanner is an example of that. He was an active member of the Provincial Boy Scouts, The Rotary Club, The Chamber of Commerce, the Masonic Lodge and the Camrose Curling Club. He also supported the arts and attended several Welsh Festivals around the world.
After 28 years with Calgary Power, Tanner retired in 1957. In 1958 he died at the age of 67.
Betty Purves was born and educated in Winnipeg. She got a Bachelor of Science in Home Economics and also acquired a teaching certificate from the Ontario College of Education. Before joining Calgary Power, Purves was an instructor in Home Economics at Strathroy High School in Ontario. She joined Calgary Power in September 1959 when she was hired into the Public Information and Load Building section of Calgary Power’s Commercial department. She was the home service assistant, and her job was to conduct cooking schools at “Electrical Fairs” for the company. Purves also wrote in the Relay (Calgary Power’s employee newsletter), and targeted communication about new electrical products to homemakers from within the TransAlta family. She retired in 1969, after 10 years with Calgary Power.
Arthur Posthethwaitewas born on May 12, 1893. Before joining Calgary Power, he worked with Canada Cement, Exshaw, and Canadian Collieries. Postlethwaite joined the Calgary Power team on December 4, 1918 as a power man. During his lengthy career with Calgary Power, Postlethwaite held several positions from power man, to operator and meter man. But the position he enjoyed the most was as supervisor in the Meter department. He held this position for 19 years, but had to retire in 1958 due to health concerns.
After 40 years with Calgary Power, Postlethwaite retired in 1958.
From his beginnings with Calgary Power Gale demonstrated a strong interest in rural electrification. In fact, early in his career Gale was sent to the U.S. to investigate rural electrification co-operative operations. By1943-44 he was setting up experimental areas in Alberta to test his learnings against an actual experience with farm service. In 1948, Gale was promoted to vice-president and general manager of Farm Electric Services. In 1959, Gale became Assistant General Manager of Calgary Power. In this new role, Gale retained his responsibilities with FESL but his portfolio grew to include general administrative responsibilities.
He retired in 1976, after 28 years with Calgary Power.
Gordon McKenzie was born and raised in Nanton, Alberta. As a young man he served three years in the Canadian Navy on minesweeping duty as well as being a convoy escort. He started at Calgary Power as a clerk in the Commercial department in 1946. His job was focused on rate comparisons. McKenzie was also passionate about rural electrification and worked for years developing further opportunities to provide electrical services to rural areas in Alberta. Gordon was also involved with the electrification of oil field services in 1947 because earlier that year, the Alberta economy had received a tremendous boost when oil was discovered in Leduc. Calgary Power supplied much of the needed electricity for pipeline pumping installations, oil refineries, and natural gas processing plants.
After 38 years with Calgary Power, McKenzie retired in 1984 as supervisor of regulatory applications in the Planning department.